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by Leyla Salavatova, Moscow, Russia
We all have our priorities in fashion, I’ve been in love with Azzedine Alaia since the age of 10, when I first discovered his designs in a Vogue magazine at my piano teachers apartment. Instead of learning the difference between allegro and moderato, I was more interested in viewing as many of Alaia’s designs as my immature girlish eyes could see. My first thought was, who is this extravagant little man? What is he doing on these glossy pages? I couldn’t read English well and didn’t realize that he was “the man behind the curtains.” Which reminds me of an episode from Clueless where Cher confronts a robber.
Cher: “Oh, no. You don’t understand this is an Alaia.”
Robber: “An a-what-a?”
Cher: “It’s like a totally important designer.”
Robber:”And I will totally shoot you in the head. Get down!”
Well, unlike the robber, my youth and subsequent silliness justified my confusion… if only I knew! Today, as it was many years, ago the famed Tunisian-born couturier still has my complete affection. His first fashion show in eight years held in Paris by the end of 2011 was met with fervent applause and critical acclaim. He is now in his seventies and is famously shy, despite being one of the most distinguished couturiers of our time. It is no wonder, then, that the hype surrounding this latest exhibition has been huge. If you are as much fan of monsieur Alaia fan as I am, you cannot avoid going to the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands to check out his retrospective. The exhibition, entitled Azzedine Alaïa in the 21st Century, has been in the making for over 18 months, and finally opened its doors in December of 2011. The exhibit has approximately 65 garments on display, with each piece organized according to the material. As part of the exhibition, particular rooms have been devoted to different fabrics, including a velvet room, a fur room and my personal favorite- a black leather room. The Azzedine Alaïa in the 21st Century runs at the Groninger Museum till May 6, 2012. www.groningermuseum.nl